Alright, it hasn’t been quite ALL work this week. Take Thursday night, for instance. It was the annual Birmingham Mega Quiz for the Lord Mayor of Birmingham’s charity in the University of Birmingham last night. I have mixed memories of the event from last year. We came runners up, and I have no complaints about that , since we were beaten by worthy winners, and you can’t win ‘em all. No, my main beef with last year’s quiz was that it was presented by a local historian slash radio personality, who rambled on all evening, and also the last round, on Birmingham itself, was not good. It was ruined by too many date questions, especially considering that you could easily do a really interesting round of questions all about Birmingham.
Judging from some of the comments from a couple of the Birmingham teams we spoke to last night we weren’t the only ones who didn’t enjoy last year’s quiz so much, so it was good to see that this year’s didn’t suffer from the same flaws. The rounds were all of uniform length – an essential for a quiz where jokers can be played. For another thing, for the first time that I’ve attended the quiz we had a question master who appreciated the supposedly simple art of ‘getting the hell on with it’. Pete Morgan, a presenter from Radio WM is not a guy I’ve come across before, but he earned my great gratitude for just asking the questions clearly, quickly, and with no half hearted attempts at humour a la Nick Owen of years gone by.
As in any quiz, the secret of success in the Mega Quiz is scoring more points than the other teams. This isn’t quite as simple as answering more questions correctly than the other teams, since jokers are involved. The rounds were – if I remember correctly – Food and drink – Music – Geography – Names and Aliases – Science – Entertainment – Film and TV – History – Sport – General Knowledge. We ummed and ahhed for a bit, eventually plumping for what should have been a banker round, with History. For the first five rounds, all went to plan. We were scoring 9s and 10s , and all the indications were that we should be able to do this with our joker round. Then it came. In the end, we were probably lucky to get seven of the answers right in the History round. Tough round. We were maybe in the lead by one point after it, but with a couple of very good teams still to play their joker, and Sport to come, chances were that we were going to be overhauled.
I think, on reflection, that we were saved by the fact that multiple past winners and all round good eggs Utopia Ltd. also played their joker on the same round. We were sitting across from each other, and it really was nip and tuck all evening. We won by a point, but if it the result had gone the other way we really wouldn’t have had any grounds for complaint.
So thanks, Birmingham. An enjoyable evening, and it was nice to see the quiz get back to basics , as it were.